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School’s board of trustees will take fossil fuel divestment demands ‘very seriously’

Board has already voted against divestment once

The Board of Trustees at Cornell University is taking “very seriously” student demands to divest the university from fossil fuel investments. Student protesters have vowed that they will “not rest till [the university] divest[s].”

Dozens of students “clad in orange” gathered at a plaza on Cornell’s campus late last week to demand the school dump its holdings in any fossil fuel concerns, The Cornell Daily Sun reports. The protest had “two major goals in mind: raising awareness on campus about fossil fuel divestment and attracting attention from the Board of Trustees” who were meeting in the area.

The demonstration eventually led to a nearby hotel where the trustees were holding a meeting. A representative of the board eventually met with the protesters and signaled the board’s willingness to consider dumping their fossil fuel investments:

At 12:45 p.m., Board of Trustees Chairman Robert Harrison ’76 walked out of the building to be greeted by [rally leader Nadia] Vitek, who handed him a stack of over 1,000 petition signatures gathered throughout the past week.

Harrison addressed the crowd briefly, expressing gratitude for their activism and said the request for divestment will be taken “very seriously.”

“We created a set of principles by which we would consider any request to divest from anything. And there have been many different kinds of requests, from private prisons to gun and ammunition manufacturers,” he said. “I know these various requests to consider divestment … have been taken very seriously for as long as I’ve been involved, and we will take this very seriously as well.”

The trustees already voted against divestment over three years ago in January of 2016, the paper reports. The school’s chief financial officer noted at the time that Cornell “would only divest to a corporation under ‘extraordinary circumstances’ that ‘violate the University’s most deeply held values’.”

Read the report here.

MORE: High-profile universities reject efforts to divest from fossil fuels

IMAGE: pichetw / Shutterstock.com

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